The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Felt for #DollClothes #SewingProjects

In this image, we see the Chelly Wood doll (actually a Spin Master Liv doll that has been modified to look like the real doll clothing designer, Chelly Wood) holding up a vintage pattern for Betsy Wetsy dolls. This pattern was published by Simplicity in 1964, under the Simplicity pattern number 5730.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Today I’m sharing with you my vintage Betsy Wetsy 16 inch baby doll clothes pattern #5730 from Simplicity. This is an adorable little pattern with so much to offer!

But if you read the back of the pattern, none of the suggested fabrics include felt:

Here we see the back of the Simplicity 5730 doll clothes patterns for 16 inch dolls. The text on the back reads thus: "Doll wardrobe (suitable for such baby dolls as Betsy Wetsy -- trademark symbol -- Ginny baby, Sweetie Pie, Baby Winkie, and Twinkie):" and then it explains the suggested fabrics for each of the garments. Nowhere in the pattern does it mention felt as one of the fabric options (which is mentioned in the discussion on Chelly Wood dot com). The Copyright on the back of the pattern says, "copyright 1964 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc," and also it mentions the copyright of the Betsy Wetsy trademark: 1960. This trademark was used under license from Ideal Toy Corp.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Personally, I can’t imagine why this pattern wouldn’t suggest felt for use with the baby bunting (View 5), the little raglan-sleeved jacket (also view 5), and the pretty little coat with a collar (view 2) as well as its bonnet.

You could even use it for the summer top or dress shown in view 3. Take a closer look:

In this close-up image of Simplicity doll clothes pattern 5730 from 1964, we see a Betsy Wetsy doll modeling a wardrobe in five different views. The colors of the wardrobe are white, pink, and green, with pink as the primary color in all outfits. View 1 shows a dress with puff sleeves and lace trim. view 2 shows a jacket and bonnet. View 3 shows a summer dress and secondarily, a pair of baby doll overalls. View 4 shows a nightgown. View 5 shows a bunting with a jacket and a little hat that ties with strings.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

I mean, that little coat with a collar just screams, “Make me out of felt!” if you ask me…

So why didn’t they suggest felt for these garments?

Well, there are some benefits to using felt when sewing doll clothes, but there are drawbacks too.

First let’s look at the benefits:

  • you don’t have to hem felt
  • felt is very inexpensive and comes in smaller pieces, which is great for doll clothes
  • felt is soft to the touch, so children enjoy playing with it
  • it’s easy to sew felt either by hand or on a sewing machine

But as I’ve said, there are drawbacks too:

  • felt is not conducive to gathering and it bunches up when using elastic
  • felt is easily damaged over time, with rough play
  • if you use Velcro on a felt closure, you run the risk of catching the fabric in the closure
  • the color of felt can fade dramatically over time
  • felt can fall apart when you clean it in a washing machine

So, although felt would be great for a lot of the garments shown in Simplicity doll clothes pattern 5730, I can also understand why they wouldn’t recommend it.

Most of the commercial patterns I display and talk about here on are also available for sale on eBay. However, if you’ve never purchased a pattern on eBay before, it’s a good idea to read the article I wrote called, “Tips for Buying Used Doll Clothes Patterns on eBay.” It will save you time, money, and will likely prevent buyer’s remorse.

And by the way, if you use the links I’ve provided to make your eBay purchase, this website will receive a small commission, which helps fund the website, so I can continue to provide you with all the free patterns and tutorial videos offered here.

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Chelly Wood and the website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.

4 thoughts on “The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Felt for #DollClothes #SewingProjects

  1. Thank you for this article. I just watched a video on YouTube where she made a dress from felt for an 18″ doll even though Barbie mainly gets the felt treatment. I also bought an expensive pattern for a boy doll where the vest says felt, but I want to use socks as fabric. But now I have a reference for using felt in the future. Thank you so much.

  2. In as much as this pattern was created in the “50’s”?, at that time, felt was made of wool. This was susceptible to bug infestations and would turn to powder and disintegrate. Many of the things I have that used wool felt of that time, such as Raggety Ann’s nose and some Christmas decorations have become a pile of powder in the box.

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